Tag Archives: liberal democrats

Something for the weekend: the great and glorious Lib Dem game of “what if?”

At the Glasgow conference in October 2014, there was something of an organisational snafu surrounding the BOTYs (Liberal Democrat Voice Blogs of the Year) awards ceremony. At the start of the session, the actual awards themselves, were not in the conference room where they needed to be. They were in a room upstairs in the hotel. The snag was that the room in question was locked. And the only person who we knew had a key was inside the room sleeping the sleep of the righteous – no doubt smilingly cuddling up to all our shiny BOTYs.

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Opinion: Wear a yellow flower to honour a Lib Dem friend

A few years ago I gave a training session at Wyboston for target seat candidates on the role of the PPC.  I tried to make it interesting, thought provoking, even different. One of the roles I had on my slides was attending funerals of long standing activists.  The idea aroused some discussion with a couple of those present dismissing the idea, and one person present saying they were going to concentrate on the living only.  Well I would still believe that one of the roles of a PPC is to attend funerals of long standing activists.  Let me explain.

Here in Camden we have a strong and sociable local party – food and drink are a large part of our staple campaign diet – we try to make it fun, we have a scheme whereby if you can’t go, but can afford it, you pay to attend and those less able to afford are given free access.
With this sociability goes a sense of family – this is something I often hear Liberal Democrats talk about up and down the country – well so with family we pay our respects when they pass away.
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Opinion: It took a day to lose those seats in Parliament – it can take a day to win them back

The following was first submitted to LDV as a comment. The team felt it was worth publishing as a full post. The author gave his permission for this.

I write this as a new member awaiting the paperwork. I joined the party because I am pro European (accepting a need for increased reform & democratic accountability), am absolutely appalled with the prospect that a Conservative government might withdraw this country from the ECHR and because I cannot reconcile democracy with government access to personal emails. In addition I was impressed with the Liberal Democrat record in Government and the performance of Liberal Democrat Ministers.

Given the post election scenario which I, like many, found shocking I appreciate that rebuilding is required, but I feel that this may be easier than many think.

Firstly, the Conservatives made commitments in the election campaign that will be hard to deliver without some drastic cuts. The electorate will be able to see what the Liberal Democrats in government prevented the Conservatives from trying to introduce. We have already seen this in action. There was no mention of the HRA in the Queens Speech – it is clear that the campaign that the Liberal Democrats have run, combined with some high profile noises from the Conservative back benches and legal community, has revealed the home truth, that they would have a hell of a fight on their hands. The objection should be the withdrawal from the ECHR which this country and a Conservative government helped form in the first place.

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Opinion: Lib Dems and the politics of protest

February 15th 2003 - Iraq war demo in LondonThe other week I asked whether the Lib Dems were a party of government or a party of protest.  Many welcome comments were made, including a good one pointing out that a political party can be both: that to reach government it needs to be a vehicle of protest, to identify what’s wrong so that it can offer change.

As I thought about that point, I read Ben Marguiles’ blog on Liberal/Lib Dem electoral performance in relation to other parties.  Whether Lib Dems like it or not, his observations highlight the contingent relationship between the party and the politics of protest.

Marguiles observes that previous analysis shows that when the party system is polarised – i.e. the two main parties diverge from the centre, the Liberals and their successors have done well.  This was the case between 1945 and 2010 when Britain had a two-and-a-half party system.  But where the political party system as a whole is polarised, the Lib Dems suffer.  Marguiles puts this down to the rise of other political parties, like the Greens, SNP and UKIP, which all drew votes away from both the centre and both Labour and the Tories.  The result?  The Lib Dems saw their share of the vote drop.  Marguiles does add a rider to this; that the party’s in government may also have made it vulnerable, but that may be due to insufficient data analysis having been done on that specific topic.

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Opinion: What sort of leadership do the Lib Dems need?

Attention for many Lib Dems is now turning to the leadership election: the relative merits of the two candidates, their personal histories and political preferences.  This reflects the traditional approach to leadership: what is it that makes an individual a ‘great’ man or woman?

Particularly useful for understanding how leaders act is the dichotomy between ‘transformative’ and ‘transactional’ leadership.  Transformational leaders tend to be seen as ‘active’: not only do they have a clear vision, but they also innovate by undertaking political change. In many ways they challenge their followers by acting independently of them; Paddy Ashdown’s abandonment of equidistance in 1992 may have been just such a case. Transactional leadership may be ‘passive’ but this doesn’t mean that it is means standing still. It can be incremental, building steadily on previous changes. Charles Kennedy’s leadership was probably an example of this.

However, leadership doesn’t operate in a vacuum. In political science we pay attention to the wider context or environment that leaders have to work within.  These may be close, like the leader’s ‘followers’ (party membership), or they may be more distant, such as the political order (constitution, composition of government, etc) and wider social and economic forces underpinning it.

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Opinion: The Liberal Democrats, liberalism and me

Ok, So I have heard many people asking what do the liberal democrats believe? What is Liberalism? and where do I fit into this? Well, I am going to attempt to answer these questions the best I can without boring you all to sleep. From the Preamble to the Constitution:

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We are committed to fight poverty, oppression, hunger, ignorance, disease and aggression wherever they occur and to promote the free movement of ideas, people, goods and services.

So that’s the basic stance on the party’s views and where the Liberal Democrats are different to other parties. They believe that everyone has the right to live a good life, and where everyone has the opportunities to be the best they can be, regardless of age, colour, gender, religion, location or how wealthy you are, and we all know that currently and previously, these things do alter our paths and rights to achieve in life. I personally know how this feels as i’m sure many of you do too. If you are not lucky enough to be able to afford to go to a good school your opportunities are lowered, or if you are from say rural areas then your opportunities are greatly different compared to those living in city centres. I believe the same opportunities should be available to all people in all areas of the country (even the world). But, we can not achieve this level of equality if those in charge are not in favour of equality.

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Opinion: 10,000 reasons to be cheerful

Different people adjust to adversity in different ways.  Some were unwittingly preparing for 8 May for months.  Some didn’t see it coming.  Others may only be starting to sense it now.

All three groups were represented at the informal catch-up I had in Yorkshire last Friday, and all were present at Liberator magazine’s post-election drink last night.  The welcome set of thank-you receptions and new members’ parties will provide the opportunity for catharsis and preparing this fightback.

And it really is a positive thing.  For whatever reason, we have an unprecedented and totally welcome surge in membership.  Some relishing a new future; some doing what I did in 1992 and joining this great party so a shock general election result like that doesn’t happen again.  And many of the rest of us who have had our grumpy moments in recent years are feeling curiously optimistic too.

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Opinion: Time for constitutional reform..but not the way you think

It’s time for constitutional reform – of the Liberal Democrats. We need to redesign our party structures to make them fit for the challenges we face.

While there has to be a big debate on what needs change and what the best options are, here’s a rundown of options worth considering:

1. Either abolish membership fees or create an associate membership which costs nothing and has some of the privilege of full members. Why should you have to pay to join our movement instead of donating when you wish and are able to?

2. Reduce barriers to participation within the party. This means introducing one member, one vote everywhere in the party and should involve eliminating, or heavily reducing, the period of membership required to be able to vote in internal elections. In the Canadian Liberal’s leadership election the winning campaign signed up over 100,000 new members alone with the incentive of being able to vote for the party leader – why can’t we do something similar?

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Sal Brinton – Libby is our phoenix

Sal Brinton Sal @ Crohns & Colitis Rec _2 CROPPED Nov 13Here is Party President Sal Brinton’s video address to members this afternoon:

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Nick Clegg resigns as leader

Nick Clegg has said that he needs to take responsibility for the “crushing” election result for the Liberal Democrats and he resigned with great dignity.

He said that the election had been crushing, much more so than he expected and he had to take responsibility for that. He then went on to quote Edinburgh Western candidate Alex Cole Hamilton’s tweet after the 2011 Scottish election. Alex said that if the price of his defeat was that no child would spend a night in an immigration detention centre again, then he accepted it with all his heart. Nick gave a passionate defence of the good things we’d done in government and said that he thought history would judge us more kindly than last night.

He then talked passionately about the need for British liberalism. He acknowledged it wasn’t faring well against identity politics and the politics of fear but it was really needed.

Fear and grievance have won. Liberalism has lost. But it is more precious than ever and we must keep fighting for it.

It is easy to imagine there is no road back. There is.

This is a very dark hour for our party but we cannot and will not allow decent liberal values to be extinguished overnight.

We’ll update this post with reaction to Nick’s resignation. I’ll write at greater length about his leadership when I’ve had some sleep, but I have huge admiration for the man. He has borne the difficulties of the last five years with dignity, good grace, humour and resilience. He has been ridiculed by vested interests from left and right. You could argue that any Liberal Democrat leader in such a position would have faced exactly the same. He’s made mistakes, from the Rose Garden to secret courts to the bedroom tax to the one that everyone associates with him. Here’s his statement in full.

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The best UK government of my lifetime

I kicked off the campaign with this post and I thought I’d re-run it the night before we head to the polls. I wrote a book chapter about the coalition in the shadow of a rollercoaster. That’s how the last five years have felt. There have been moments when I’ve winced and moments when I have been immensely proud of our ministers. All in all, though, Britain is in a much better place than it would have been without us. All that horrible stuff you see in the Tory manifesto about banning non-specified non violent extremism, all the stuff about taking all benefits from young people, all the illiberal, immigrant-bashing, poor-demonising, rich-enriching nonsense wouldn’t in their manifesto. They would already be law. I hope that the government elected tomorrow is a force for economic fairness and stability, transformational political change and has an open and internationalist approach. If there are Liberal Democrats in it, it will tick all of these boxes. Anyway, here are my thoughts from five weeks ago. 

This post will be open to new and infrequent commenters. 

I’m not going to lie, when we went into coalition with the Tories, I did not feel comfortable with it. Working with the party who had destroyed the country I grew up during the 80s  in was never going to be easy. It’s not about comfort or ease, though. It’s about doing good and enacting liberal values. We’ve made mistakes – howlers, even. Who hasn’t? Can you say that you’ve got through the last five years error free? We have much to show for it. For every child who hasn’t had to spend months in Yarl’s Wood, for every disadvantaged child who has new opportunities at school, for those who benefit from reforms to mental health, for those who have workplace pensions, for pensioners benefitting from the triple lock, for those people across the world who benefit from our aid. for those who are now free to marry the people they love, it’s been worth it. Despite all the constraints on us having only 8% of the MPs and a fifth of the government, we have made a very strong, liberal mark.

Despite everything, this coalition has been the best UK government of my lifetime. That’s quite a long time, however much I like to pretend that I’m a young person. Certainly the likes of Blair, Thatcher and Callaghan didn’t set the bar very high, but we’ve achieved a lot. It’s been a roller coaster and I’m far from satisfied with everything it’s done, but I am incredibly proud of Lib Dem ministers, among them:

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The final Liberal Democrat party election broadcast – all 3 versions: It’s decision time between self-interest and grievance or Lib Dem fairness, tolerance and decency

Here’s the party’s final party election broadcast, It’s decision time now for all the people we’ve met in the series. The film argues that Liberal Democrats have brought compassion and fairness, built on consensus and co-operation, to Britain.

Your vote will be the difference between a government of self-interest and grievance or a coalition of tolerance and decency.

Here’s the Scottish version and listen to who is voicing it. There’s more emphasis on what we stopped the Tories doing.

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Independent leader article argues for another Lib-Con coalition

Today’s leader article in the Independent praises Nick Clegg:

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Opinion: We shouldn’t demonise the Scots or the SNP

I’m increasingly concerned at the way in which the prospect of SNP MPs at Westminster is being treated in the English media.

My fear is that the SNP is being demonised in a way that undermines the future of the United Kingdom by bracketing the SNP and the Scots together and demonising both.

I’ve heard many stories from people in Scotland of the bitter taste left by the Thatcher years, when the Tories foisted the poll tax first on the Scots, smashed industry and caused mass unemployment. All this led to a Tory wipeout in 1997 and they still have only 1 MP in Scotland, although they do have a sizeable contingent at Holyrood due to PR.

Both the SNP and Plaid Cymru pushed an anti-austerity agenda in the television debates. This chimes in with resentment at austerity across the UK but doesn’t make economic sense: cutting too much chokes (as the Tories propose) off growth, but letting the deficit grow undermines financial stability in a way that is just as dangerous. They both have a purchase on Labour because they chime in with Labour’s left wing.

The sociology seems complex, both within and between the countries of the UK, but short circuiting with cheap shots such as adverts showing Ed Milliband in Alex Salmond’s pocket, can only fuel resentment.

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Opinion: Let’s talk about the candidates

Nick Clegg made a fine speech in Eastleigh on Monday morning recalling the fighting spirit that saw us win a famous victory.  He made a good case for why voters should vote for the Liberal Democrats with references to our Labour and Conservative opponents. He gave our activists and volunteers much needed encouragement to make a final push before polling day. But one thing he did not mention was our excellent candidates.

One of the best reasons for voting Lib Dem in one of our 60 target seats is the outstanding calibre and proven track record of many of our candidates. It is not just the party that has proved itself over the past five years, it is our MPs themselves.

Over the past five years our MPs have built an outstanding record of individual achievements. The roll of honour is long and it is always possible to find someone that any voter will admire, whether it be Steve Webb on pensions, Danny Alexander in the Treasury or Ed Davey on Green Energy or Lynn Featherstone on FGM and Jo Swinson on Gender Equality or Vince at the Department of Business or Norman Lamb on Mental Health – it is not just the issues we have tackled but the people who have done the hard work who are recognised.

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Video: 3 reasons to vote for Dorothy Thornhill in Watford

The Watford campaign team have given us all a lesson in how to do video campaigning this election. First there was this introduction to Dorothy as a person, and now there are three solid policy reasons to vote for her:

Three Reasons to Vote Dorothy from Think About It Films on Vimeo.

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Lord Navnit Dholakia writes..Lib Dem BAME manifesto takes pro-active approach to valuing different cultures, combating racism and reducing inequality

My core belief that we all have a right to be treated fairly without reference to colour, race, nationality or ethnicity is one of the reasons I have remained committed to the Liberal Party and the Liberal Democrats for over fifty years. The party’s fundamental rejection of prejudice and discrimination is just as important now as it was when I joined the Brighton Young Liberals in the 1950s.

Britain has a proud record in race and community relations, but at a time when we see the rise of the divisive politics of parties like UKIP, it has never been more important for the Liberal Democrats to stand up for equality and diversity.

Today the party has launched its BAME Manifesto. It spells out how we will continue to protect the rights and opportunities of Britain’s ethnic minorities – the right to live in peace, to receive an education, to get a job, to raise a family free from fear, and, above all, the right to be treated fairly without reference to race, colour, national or ethnic origins.

Our culture and economy is stronger as a result of the diverse range of people who have chosen to make Britain their home. In government we’ve made huge progress in securing Britain’s economic recovery and helping businesses to grow. Self-employment and the small business sector is especially important for BAME communities. In the past 12 months alone a third of all the new businesses set up through the Start-Up Loans initiative have been by Black and Minority Ethnic entrepreneurs. But there is still more to be done to help BAME entrepreneurs. So we will build on the Coalition’s BME Access to Finance report to identify ways to encourage more BAME applicants to apply for finance and set up small businesses, and monitor and tackle the BAME pay gap. We will build on what we have already achieved in government by raising the tax free personal allowance to at least £12,500 by the end of the next Parliament, ensuring that many BAME workers who work part time or on low to middle incomes benefit from a further tax cut.

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Manifesto: A clever shifting of the coalition question

Nick Clegg 2015 manifesto photo by Liberal DemocratsWhen I first realised that the manifesto launch was going to take place in a nightclub, I was slightly concerned, given last year’s lacklustre launch in the Ministry of Sound. Lessons have very clearly been learned from that launch. The backdrop was brightly coloured, the place was full of people. Even watching on the television, the atmosphere was clearly buzzing. One reporter even referred to it as “the love lounge.”

Until the technology failed him and cut the event short, Nick Clegg was on top form. If this party ever needed a leader at the top of his game, it’s now and he delivered. He set out in convincing form why he and not Nigel Farage or the SNP needs to be in the next government. His was a message of optimism underpinned with responsibility. For me, the “enabling everyone to get on in life”, which later morphed into Opportunity for Everyone, is the most important part of our message, and it was elevated to centre stage today:

At its heart is one word that is absolutely central to what Liberal Democrats believe: opportunity. No matter who you are, where you were born, what sexuality or religion you are or what colour your skin is, you should have the same opportunity to get on in life. We want to tear down the barriers that stop you from reaching your potential. We want to smash the glass ceilings that keep you from achieving what you want to achieve. Your talent and your hard work, not the circumstances of your birth, should decide what you can be.

When we formed the Coalition in 2010, three quarters of our manifesto became part of the Government’s agenda. The priorities on its front page: fairer taxes; investment in the poorest children in schools; fixing the economy; and political reform, became central to what the Coalition Government did.

That’s why this manifesto matters. It is a programme for a liberal Government with decency, tolerance and generosity at its heart.

That for me is the best bit of his speech. The heart and brain stuff is what everyone is talking about, with as many Wizard of Oz comparisons as you like, but remember that that leaves us as the little lion who finds out that it actually does have loads of courage.

While Cameron has been telling Middle England that the only way to protect themselves from the nasty SNP doing ever-more ridiculously implausible deals with Labour is to vote for his party, Clegg has come back today and told those same voters: It’s ok, I’m here, I’ve done it before, you know I’m sensible. He’s presented his record, showing how he kept his word and delivered his priorities from last time and outlining how he intends to build on that over the next five years. Values, consistency and clarity may yet prove compelling for the electorate. 

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Pramod Subbaraman, Edinburgh South Lib Dem candidate talks about need for greater diversity in politics

Edinburgh South’s Liberal Democrat candidate Pramod Subbaraman has given an interview to the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights blog. He talks about his background:

I was born and raised in Southern India and moved to the UK in 2005 at the age of 28. I moved at that time as I was invited by the Department of Health to help fill the shortage of dentists in the English NHS. It was not an easy ride as there were a lot of hurdles erected for immigrants from outside the EU and that did take its toll, but I jumped over those hurdles, occasionally knocking a few and had to start again in places. I started working in England and then moved to Scotland in 2013. I joined the Liberal Democrats in 2010 and am now the candidate for the General Election to represent the people of Edinburgh South\

He talks about the need for more diversity in politics:

Politicians and the Electorate always seem to find reasons and excuses and keep on selecting and electing white men from political backgrounds and political jobs to parliament. It just does not make sense. Just as the most successful businesses are those that reflect the diversity of their target populations in their workforces and on their boards, so too should politics be! But it isn’t and I am part of the solution to that problem. I would represent the large Visible minorities as well as present one face for diversity in my party which in parliament is the least diverse of parties.

When asked about problems facing minorities in his constituency, he goes reassuringly off-message:

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Video: Nick Clegg on the Manifesto. It’s all about opportunity

 Here’s Nick Clegg talking from the back of the Big Yellow Bus about the main theme of our manifesto:

Opportunity for ALL. That's what our manifesto is about. That's what the Liberal Democrats are about

Posted by Nick Clegg on Wednesday, 15 April 2015

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Manifesto: What a Liberal Democrat United Kingdom would look like in 2020

Manifesto Lib Dem visionThe preamble to the manifesto looks at what Britain would look like in 2020 if Liberal Democrat policies were implemented. It certainly sounds like a country I want to live in. I am pleased to see that it is seen as a priority to tackle the culture of everyday sexism with decent, mandatory sex education.

I certainly like the look of our “five year plan” – although I might have preferred it if we didn’t call it something quite so Kremlinesque. Here it is in full. 

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Nick Clegg’s foreword to the Liberal Democrat manifesto

You can read the whole manifesto here but here is Nick Clegg’s foreword setting out its themes and how it builds on what the Liberal Democats have already delivered in government.

Dear friend,

When Liberal Democrats launched our 2010 General Election

manifesto, few people expected that many of the policies it contained would be implemented by the next Government. But that’s what happened: three quarters of those policies formed the backbone of the Coalition’s programme.

Front-page commitments like raising the Income Tax threshold and investing in the poorest schoolchildren through the Pupil Premium became flagship Coalition policies.

With Liberal Democrats in Government to deliver them, those policies have started the work of building a stronger economy and
a fairer society, with opportunity spread across the whole United Kingdom.
Despite tough economic circumstances, those policies are making a difference to people’s lives and helping make Britain a freer, greener, more liberal country.

But our mission has only just begun. You can’t build a stronger economy and a fairer society, and spread opportunity to every citizen, in five years.

For the first time, this is a Liberal Democrat manifesto that builds on a record of policies delivered in national government.

We can say we will finish the job of balancing the books, but do so fairly, because we have started that job in this Parliament.
We can say we will cut taxes for working people by raising the tax-free allowance to £12,500 because we have raised the tax-free allowance every year since 2010.

We can say we will protect funding for education from nursery to 19 because we have protected schools funding and invested in early years education in Government.

We can say we will increase health funding and invest in mental

health because we have protected the NHS budget in Government and introduced the first ever waiting-time standards for mental health.

And we can say we will protect our environment because we have almost trebled the amount of electricity from renewable energy in this Parliament.

In our fast-changing world, the fundamental question political parties face is: do we want to continue to be an open society, confident and optimistic about our place in the world, or do we want to become a closed one, increasingly insular and backward-looking? For Liberal Democrats there is only ever one answer: we want an optimistic, open-hearted and outward-looking United Kingdom.

In Government for the next five years, Liberal Democrats will continue to build a stronger economy and a fairer society with opportunity for everyone. This manifesto sets out how.

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45,455

Things continue to look up on the Liberal Democrat membership front. During the first 3 months of this year, there’s been a net gain of 775 members,  bringing us past the 45,000 milestone to the figure you see in the headline.

This is the eighth consecutive quarter in which we have made gains, which is outstanding given our positioning in the polls and the fact that we are in government.

So why are we growing in membership? Well, for a start, we may be concentrating our campaigning in our held seats but we have made it a key priority to give all local parties an incentive for recruiting members. The more their membership grows, the bigger the percentage return for them.

What’s interesting is that these new members are not confined to areas where we are strong. 

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Opinion: What’s in a name ?

 

Having recently finished reading a biography of Charles Kennedy, which covered the merger of the Liberal Party and SDP in detail, I pondered for some time on the controversy surrounding the names and philosophy of political parties.

In the late 1980s the Social and Liberal Democrats or SLD were lampooned as the Salads, the use of the shorter Democrats was unpopular because it omitted the word liberal, so we ended up with the Liberal Democrats – a title that is now long established.

If you look beyond the UK though, the confusion really begins.

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++Lib Dems hit another big fundraising target

Great news! Just after midnight last night, Tim Gordon, Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats, sent this message to party members from his Blackberry:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | 6 Comments

Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems can be very proud of themselves

In the photo above, Nick Clegg leaves Number Ten Downing Street this morning for an audience with the Queen upon the dissolution of Parliament.

We’ve had many debates on this website about the record of the Lib Dems in government. Nick Clegg has received shedloads of stinging criticism.

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Back to the days of toxic factionalism in the Labour Party – will they ever learn?

I’ve always felt that the Labour Party would be much more effective if they could put their energies into fighting the problems the country faces rather than fighting each other. We all remember the schism between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair from Day 1 of their administration which overshadowed everything they did. Do you remember the time when they decided to show everyone what good friends they were in the run up to, I think, the 2005 election, sitting  together uncomfortably on the GMTV sofa.

Today the Sunday Times (£) shows us that toxic factionalism is still alive and well in the Party. Brown and Blair couldn’t even get on when things were going well for them. The two Eds, Miliband and Balls are apparently at daggers drawn and Balls may face demotion after recent blunders:

A shadow cabinet member said if Miliband becomes prime minister he should move the shadow chancellor and accused Balls of behaving with “contempt” towards colleagues and “undermining the leader’s agenda”.

Frontbenchers attacked Balls last night for committing Labour’s two worst gaffes of the election campaign so far.

They said his reputation as a “safe pair of hands” had been shattered when he failed to name a single Labour business backer and told voters they should get a receipt for work done cash in hand, both of which attracted ridicule.

Senior figures also expressed frustration and incredulity that Balls has dug his heels in over funding a cut in English tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000 a year — three years after Miliband first backed the policy and with the announcement due at the end of this week.

Insiders say a meeting between Miliband and Balls last Wednesday, which many hoped would settle the policy, had “ended badly”.

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LibLink: Danny Alexander: A defence of our role in Coalition, whatever Jeremy Browne thinks

Danny Alexander takes to the pages of the Independent to challenge the points made by Jeremy Browne in his critical interview in that paper yesterday.

He looks back at the recessions of the 80s with their mass unemployment and misery and highlights the differences in approach brought into government by the Liberal Democrats. This, he says, has brought about a quicker, fairer end to the economic downturn:

Liberalism is about individual freedom, fairness and opportunity. And freedom, fairness and opportunity cannot flourish without a strong economy.

Today, Britain has the strongest growth and fastest job creation of any advanced economy. Inflation is benign, business investment is rising and we have record numbers in work. By any measure, Britain is making strong progress and opportunity is increasing.

This recovery has not come about by accident. It has been hard earned by millions of people and businesses. But we needed the right economic climate for the recovery. That climate is the direct result of liberal values in the recovery plan – fairness and opportunity. Delivered in the Coalition by Liberal Democrat policies – a balanced approach to dealing with the deficit; raising the income tax personal allowance to make work more attractive; creating apprenticeships to give people the skills they need; and the priority we have given to boosting investment in regional and local businesses, innovation and infrastructure. This is not “splitting the difference” between the other parties. It’s doing things in a distinctly different way, the liberal way.

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Opinion: What might happen after May 7th

This article appeared earlier as a comment on our “Electoral fruit machine” post and is reproduced here with permission from the author.

(After May 7th) I believe the Lib Dems will have more than 20 seats and less than 40, with many polls and commentators going for somewhere around the 30 mark, at the moment. From all the qualitative data I’ve seen so far that seems a fair estimate in political science. Anything less than 20 would be a shock, as Lord Ashcroft’s polling indicates that this is not going to happen.

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Liberal Democrats publish their election manifesto front page

Manifesto_Covers_2015The Liberal Democrats are today launching the front page of their General Election manifesto. The front-page will set out the five Liberal Democrat priorities for forming a government after May 7th. The Scottish and Welsh Liberal Democrats will also today unveil their manifesto priorities, including greater devolution of power to Scotland and Wales. Nick Clegg will launch the campaign on a visit to a primary school in the Conservative-held constituency of Oxford West and Abingdon.

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  • User AvatarDavid 4th Jul - 10:40pm
    @Phyllis: "David, they might not exist explicitly on this thread". They don't exist at all on this thread. @Phyllis: "men from a working class background...
  • User AvatarMrWallace 4th Jul - 9:24pm
    @andrew. "I am just astonished that two parents expect to have children with no effect on their careers at all". Me too, I think it's...
  • User AvatarMrWallace 4th Jul - 9:09pm
    PR as a red line no nonsense about a referendum? When I ask why this wasn't done in 2010 I'm told because it would be...
  • User AvatarAndrew 4th Jul - 8:55pm
    I should have said "look after their children for part of the time" of course! Unless your are aristocracy...
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